Hyde Bark Dog Show and Fundraiser

On Saturday I had a stand at the Mayhew Animal Rescue Home’s fundraising event – the “Hyde Bark” in London’s Hyde Park.

The Enlightened Hound at The Hyde Bark

My pitch right by the Serpentine was lovely and the day was hugely enjoyable – more fun than the art/craft fairs I have done in the past – all due of course to the variety of 4 legged attendees!

I am happy to say that my hand-made stands and hand-painted signage worked nicely for hanging my prints and everything remained in place despite a few gusts of wind!

The enlightened hound's stand at the mayhew fair

the enlightened hound craft fair stand

 

It was great to meet some of the members of the Cockapoo Club who persuaded me to add Cockapoos to my series of “Dog Tag” prints. More pictures of me, the cockapoos and the event can be found on the cockapoo blog “Miss Darcy’s Adventures”.

Some other highlights included a huge Great Dane (named Jarvis) sniffing a tiny mottled Dachshund (named Blue Cheese!) … an elegant Afghan (which took me back to my childhood as an aunt of mine had one) … two little dachshunds named Beatrice and Audrey (such great names) and a lovely Catalan Sheepdog (who reminded me of my own Portuguese Water Dog).

It was lovely to meet everyone who stopped by my stand (both 2 legged and 4 legged). Thank you all for your your interest in my work and for the many people who signed my book with requests for “Dog Tag” prints of their breeds… most popular requests were Yorkie, French Bulldog and Beagles – they are all now on my list!

There was lots of entertainment to keep everyone amused… from agility to dog shows and heartwarming rescue stories from the Mayhew Rescue Home. Lots of fun had by all and all for a good cause!

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Border Terrier, Jack Russell and Cockapoo Prints

Been busy as a bee with 3 new prints in my “Dog Tag” series… The Border Terrier, The Jack Russell and The Cockapoo.

These prints are all hand lettered and illustrated and then printed individually by hand on my press in my studio, dutifully watched over by my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo.

First up the Border Terrier, printed in a soft blue-grey ink, inspired by the big skies of the Border Country.

Border Terrier Hand Lettered Print by Debbie Kendall The Enlightened Hound

These rough ‘tweedy’ coated working terriers hail from the area between England and Scotland called the Border Country, a dramatic hilly landscape of sweeping valleys, heather moorland and green forests where 18th century farmers and shepherds, in need of some help to control the local fox and vermin population, started breeding Border Terriers.

And the Cockapoo… printed in a soft apple green ink

Cockapoo print by The Enlightened Hound

The popular Cockapoo was probably the first deliberate cross breed with the first records dating back to 1960s, or possibly 1950s, America. The delightful result of this cross between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle is a happy-go-lucky, smart and totally devoted companion.

And the Jack Russell (Parson Russell Terrier)… printed in an understated taupe-grey ink

Jack Russell Print by The Enlightened Hound

I really enjoyed researching these popular and feisty little dogs, with their long history of assisting people with hunting and vermin control. Their controversial and chequered past makes fascinating reading.

The story goes that the breed line was started way back in 1795 by the Reverend John (“Jack”) Russell, a parson with a passion for fox hunting and country pursuits. However he was vehemently against developing the Jack Russell to a standard as required by the Kennel Club for registration as he, and his sporting brethren, believed that developing a pedigree Jack Russell line would dilute the tenacious work ethic that these tough little dogs are known for.

But of course there were those who disagreed and sought to create a breed standard – now known as the Parson Russell Terrier – which is recognised by the Kennel Club.

Kennel club recognition aside, these larger-than-life dogs make great companions for people in all walks of life.

So this makes a total of 11 breeds now in my “Dog Tag” print series… the others are Labrador, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Pug, Golden Retriever, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Whippet & Portuguese Water Dog… take a look at them all on The Enlightened Hound’s Website.

Golden Retriever Original Print

Here is the 8th breed in my dog tag print series – the Golden Retriever. This well known and loved breed is also adored by over 160 celebrity owners including Martha Stewart, Ronal Reagan, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerry Seinfeld, Jackie Chan and Christopher Reeve.

Golden Retriever Print

The  Golden Retriever was developed by the wonderfully named British aristocrat, Lord Tweedmouth, in the late 1800s, as a handsome and practical gentleman’s hunting companion. Tweedmouth was an avid hunter and well connected gentleman in Victorian society.

In 1865 Lord Tweedmouth bought the only yellow pup from a litter of black wavy coated retrievers and crossed him with the (now extinct) Tweed Water Spaniel, a rugged water dog with excellent retrieving abilities. He wanted to create the perfect sporting dog to retrieve upland game and waterfowl on his Scottish estate, but also an animal that was handsome and of a biddable, sweet disposition — an ideal a family pet.
Today’s Golden Retrievers are a testament to those early ideals.

Golden Retriever Art Print

Handsome as a Hollywood movie star, sensitive and intelligent companions, with smiling faces and heart-melting eyes, its hard to resist the allure of a Golden! Their inherent retrieving instinct and strong desire to please their people means that they love to carry things in their mouths – shoes, underwear and soft toys rank high on theirs list of favourite things to collect and present as gifts to their cherished family.

Framed Golden Retriever Print

Yet these dogs are so much more than a pretty face. Behind all the glamour lies a versatile and accomplished hunter who loves to be at one with nature. I always smile when I meet a mud-covered Golden out on a walk, fresh from romping through the undergrowth, wallowing in the mud and rolling in all manner of unmentionable substances. They simply love to have a good time with their people. What more could you ask from a dog?

The print combines my hand drawn lettering with illustration and each one is hand-printed on my press in a rich yellow ochre ink, then individually signed.

Prints are available both framed and unframed from my online shop

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Print

The popular Staffy is much misunderstood, frequently feared and often unfairly maligned by the media. They are (according to Kennel Club statistics at the time of writing) Britain’s 5th most popular dog, yet they also top the list of breeds in rescue centres and shelters in the UK. The truth is that while the Staffy might look like a tough dog, they are actually big softies – a loving, reliable and affectionate family dog, devoted to their human companions.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Pen and Ink Drawing by Debbie Kendall

So where do they get their bad rap from? Stan Rawlinson, the Dog Listener has written an excellent article on why this breed (the only one to be described by the Kennel Club as being ‘totally reliable’) has such a fearful reputation. Part of the reason is that the Staffie resembles many other of the so called ‘bully’ breeds that can be aggressive towards humans. In addition, staffies are often crossed with such breeds and this can alter or dilute the reliable Staffy anti-aggressive human bond.

Their tough looks and similarity to other more human-aggressive bully breeds, combined with easy availability from unscrupulous breeders, has sadly resulted in the Staffy becoming a status symbol dog amongst street gangs – a kind of ‘pseudo pit bull’.  These owners sometimes beat, torment and neglect  their dogs to try and make them into the ultimate aggressive accessory, to boost their street image and terrorise other gangs. They may also breed from their dog to generate income by selling the puppies. These puppies do not generally have the best start in life and are rarely properly socialised or appropriately trained. Indeed any breed of dog that is treated badly is likely to show aggression towards humans.

This is the key to why rescue shelters have a disproportionate number of Staffies. Many of the irresponsible owners who have acquired a Staffy to enhance their street credibility find that they are too much bother to look after, or having mistreated them are unable to control them. Neglect, inappropriate training and a poor understanding of a dog’s needs leads to many Staffies being abandoned or rescued by charitable organisations.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Print by Debbie Kendall

Created in England in the late 18th and early 19th century, Staffies were a cross between Bulldogs and Terriers, bred for the ‘sport’ of dogfighting by working class men. Staffies were expected to live harmoniously with their families, often in small spaces with lots of children. No aggression towards humans was tolerated and it is said that any dogs showing even the slightest signs of ill will towards their family members were ruthlessly weeded out.

As with all dogs, but particularly so for Staffies, they do have to be well socialised from an early age with other dogs and  animals in order that they do not develop aggression towards other dogs.

Hand lettering by Debbie Kendall

The Kennel Club recommends the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as being particularly suitable for families with children – one of only 2 breeds to deserve such a high accolade – and they describe the Staffy as:

“Extremely reliable, highly intelligent and affectionate, especially with children.”

Their reliable, loving nature and affinity for children is the reason that Staffords have earned the nickname “The Children’s Nursemaid” or “Nanny Dog”

My latest print celebrates all that is good about the Stafford. Hand lettered and illustrated, each print is hand printed on my press in a deep inky green – and individually signed.

Framed hand printed Staffy dog art by Debbie Kendall

Available from The Enlightened Hound’s online shop from just £40, unframed.

Hand Lettered Pug Print

The Enlightened Hound’s “Dog Tag” series of prints has a new addition – The Pug Print.

Hand printed Pug 'Dog Tag' Art by Debbie Kendall, The Enlightened Hound

I must admit that I didn’t know much about these popular little dogs before I started researching them for my latest Dog Tag breed story print. The pug is often characterised by the Latin phrase “multum in parvo” which means “much in little”. This refers to the fact that these little dogs have such huge personalities!

Hand lettered detail of Pug print by Debbie Kendall

Pugs have a fascinating history dating back to ancient China. Also known as Foo Dogs in the West, they were bred by the Chinese Imperial Family of ancient dynasties to resemble the sacred Chinese Guardian Lion. Historical documentation indicates that pugs could only be owned and bred by emperors ~ breaking this law was punishable by death.

A very desirable feature was the “W” shape in the forehead folds, which in Chinese letters meant prince.

Pugs were treasured companions who were held in the highest esteem. They lived in the lap of luxury, eating only the best food, with their own devoted attendants to look after them and special carriages to ride in (not that different from today then!)

Framed Pug Art Print by Debbie Kendall

Pugs have long been associated with royalty, favoured as companions by several European royal households. From a Russian princess to the Dutch king, William I, French ruler Louis XIV, and British monarchs, King William III, Mary II, Queen Victoria and Edward VII and more recently The Duke & Duchess of Windsor. A more royal pedigree could not be found!

Fame and fortune go hand in hand with these great little dogs. Other celebrity owners include Josephine Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Andy Warhol, George Clooney and Grace Kelly.

Pugs have also been immortalised in many movies and books, perhaps the most famous of which is Frank the Pug in Men in Black – an extra-terrestrial living on Earth in the disguise of a pug!

The print combines my hand drawn lettering with illustration and each one is hand printed on my press in a rich deep orange/red – and individually signed. Available from my website both framed and unframed.

Also available are Labrador, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Whippet and Portuguese Water Dog. Up next is the Staffy!

Labrador Retriever “Dog Tag” print

Ta Da! Announcing a new addition to my series of Breed Story Dog Tag Prints. This latest one is for all you Labrador Lovers out there… and I know there’s a lot of you, as the Labrador is the number one breed in both the UK and the USA… and now I know why!

I had great fun researching the Labrador Print breed history for this latest print. They really are the most wonderfully versatile dogs and they definitely deserve their status as Top Dog (my Portuguese Water Dog can fortunately never read of my disloyalty!)

Labrador Retriever Print

Determination is one of the Labrador character traits on the print and funnily enough, the last couple of weeks on our daily walks, Figo and I have met some particularly determined Labs whose show of determination mainly related to stealing Figo’s ball and refusing to give it back! One lady tried to prise it from some very firmly clamped jaws (to no avail) and the others simply evaded capture, much to the embarrassment of their owners.

Labrador print lettering detail

Despite often seeing Labs as assistance dogs, it was not until I researched the breed in more detail that I realised just how many different ways Labs have been trained to help humans. These steady, soft-mouthed, warm hearted and waggy-tailed dogs are the perfect companion for so many people.

The prints combine my hand drawn lettering with illustration and they are each hand printed on my press in a chocolate brown ink – and individually signed.

Framed labrador print

Available from The Enlightened Hound

The prints can also be purchased framed in a selection of my handmade reclaimed wooden frames, or they will fit happily in a ready made frame, like the Ikea Ribba (52x52cm square frame with matt/mount included).

Hand Lettering Project & Sketches

These last few weeks I have been participating an online project on illustration and lettering in label design run by hand-lettering guru Jon Contino through the online education website Skillshare.

So what was I hoping to get out of this course? Well, whilst I am not trying to design a label for a product, I have had in my mind a vintage label/dog tag inspired design for a new print… one based on specific dog breeds and their story…

Skillshare run project based classes in hundreds of subjects, taught online by experts in their field. Its not just art and design though… there are classes in computer technology, fashion, photography, business and writing too. This is my first time using Skillshare so I don’t know if all classes work in the same way, but for the hand lettering project Jon, our teacher, provided guidance through downloadable notes and instructional videos. We students then upload our sketches and ideas as the project progresses, for feedback.

The first thing we had to do was create a ‘mood board’ for our project… this is to help establish the tone for the project and describe the kind of style that will influence it… here is mine…

hand lettering ideas

 

Then we get down to some serious creative business….

blank sketchbook

 

Sharpened pencils at the ready and favourite pens on hand, the blank sketchbook always freaks me out a bit but once I get going that soon dissipates with frequent breaks for dog walks and, more recently, some gentle running – perfect for getting the creative juices flowing!

Feedback comes mainly from your peers who are also participating in the class. Its a great community feel and the more you get involved in both your work and looking at other student’s work, the more support and feedback you get from the other people participating in the project. Unfortunately feedback from the teacher is not very forthcoming… but there were over 450 participants in this class so I guess it isn’t realistic for teachers to comment on all of them individually… but it doesn’t really matter as the other participants, being like minded folk from design backgrounds are generous, constructive and supportive in their feedback.

Now the ideas are ticking along nicely and I have lots of sketches and ideas to refine and play with…

hand lettering and illustration sketches by Debbie Kendall

 

The project is taking shape now and I am finalizing my ideas… so far it has been fun and creatively challenging participating in the Skillshare project… I have started this design with the Portuguese Water Dog as the subject becasue this is the breed closest to my heart but I am open to ideas for which breed to do next… let me know what you would like to see and  watch this space for the new print!